Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dealing with the Harder Things of Life ~ Faith, Hope, Trust, Purpose, Peace, and Joy

These are just a few things that I've read recently that have been an encouragement to me.  I hope they will be to some of you as well.

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?  But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered, according to the will of God.  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?  We are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
Romans 8: 18, 24-26, 27b, 28, 31, 37b

“Today as I sit in my lonely room, this passage of God's Word flies in like a white dove through the window, "And now men see not the sun which is in the clouds; but the wind passes and clears them." Job 37:21. To my weak vision, dimmed with tears, the cloud is exceeding dark, but through it stream some rays from the infinite love which fills the Throne with an exceeding and eternal brightness of glory. By-and-by we may get above and behind that cloud—into the overwhelming light. We shall not need comfort then; but we do need it now. And for our present consolation, God lets through the clouds some clear, strong, distinct rays of love and gladness.
One truth which beams in through the vapors is this—God not only reigns, but He governs His world by a most beautiful law of compensations. He sets one thing over against another. Faith loves to study the illustrations of this law, notes them in her diary, and rears her pillars of praise for every fresh discovery. I have noticed that the deaf often have an unusual quickness of eyesight; the blind are often gifted with an increased capacity for hearing; and sometimes when the eye is darkened and the ear is closed, the sense of touch becomes so exquisite that we are able to converse with the sufferer through that sense alone.
This law explains why God put so many of His people under a sharp regimen of hardship and burden-bearing in order that they may be sinewed into strength; why a Joseph must be shut into a prison in order that he may be trained for a palace and for the premiership of the kingdom.”
Theodore Cuyler

"Those who dive into the sea of affliction, bring up rare pearls!"
Charles Spurgeon

"Afflictions tend to wean us from the world--and to fix our affections on things above."
John Angell James
Do you ever wonder what Paul’s thorn in his side was (2 Corinthians 12:8)?
I wonder all the time. Did he have this thorn before he was a believer? And, if so, how long had he had it? Or, did his thorn enter his life after it changed forever on the road to Damascus?
All I know is that Paul does not say what his thorn was. How mysterious of him!
I think we all have thorns that we’ve wished we could pray away. I know I’m guilty of it.
How many times I’ve come before the Lord and asked him why he’s allowed certain things to happen in my life.
While God is more than capable of erasing history, He doesn’t.  Why doesn’t He make exceptions…?
I think it’s because He calls us to be strong and courageous. (Joshua 1:9) He knows that we have His strength to handle whatever life throws our way, even if we don’t think we’re strong enough.
The Courage to Trust
We need to trust His strength, because God wouldn’t have allowed us to endure this pain otherwise. We can stand tall and be courageous…because it takes courage to trust.
While we may not have been given the ability to change our history and rid ourselves of our thorns, we have been given the power to embrace them…which is hard (I know).
It is possible to make lemonade out of those flying life-lemons.
It begins with the trusting choice of saying, “This will not defeat me.” Christ has already won the biggest battle of our lives (Romans 8:37), but the deceiver will do anything he can to convince us that we don’t have the strength to win the smaller ones.
But quite the opposite is true. God is in the business of making beautiful things . . . and every rose has its thorn.


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